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Which exterior finishes can be used on ICFs?

Insulated concrete forms are being used more frequently for exterior wall construction, as demand for eco-friendly and cost-effective materials rises among homeowners and developers. Architects often have questions about how ICFs will affect their designs because they are the people responsible for ensuring the aesthetics of the final projects.

One aspect that has a major impact on the finished look of a building is the exterior finish. Fortunately, Nudura ICFs can accommodate virtually any design and exterior finish. Here are just a few of the most popular ones and some tips for how to incorporate them:

Brick and Stone

Brick and stone create a classic aesthetic that stands the test of time and are both durable and low maintenance. While these natural materials may cool down a house better in warm temperatures than other siding materials, they can be a pricier option.

Brick or stone can be installed as a finished product onto the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) material. An ICF brick ledge form is installed to provide support at the base of the brick or stone. To tie the brick or stone to the wall, brick ties are installed into the ICF fastening strip with screws.

449 N Hermitage Rd

Various Siding Materials

Prefabricated siding finishes are often more affordable, but some require more maintenance than brick or stone. Still, many like them because they are well-suited to certain styles. For example, wood siding is often used to achieve a cottage chic look.

Wood, cement, steel, and vinyl siding can all be installed onto ICFs either vertically or horizontally, just be sure to follow the siding manufacturer’s installation instructions. Vertical siding may require additional strapping to be attached to the form’s fastening strips. Some manufacturers will recommend that siding be nailed to the wall, however screws must always be used on an ICF, as nails will not provide adequate holding power through the polypropylene fastening strips.



Many homeowners prefer stucco finishes because they are relatively low maintenance, very durable, and can easily be painted a different color. From smooth to old English to sand, the wide range of textures offers architects unique design possibilities.

Stucco is one of the top finishes for Nudura ICFs because it can be directly applied to the EPS with no additional foam attached to the wall. All types of stucco materials being used in the construction industry can be applied to Nudura ICFs.

Exterior Insulation Finishing System (EIFS) is probably the most popular type of acrylic stucco coating available and is specifically adapted for application to insulated concrete form systems. The two-part system features an acrylic makeup that provides excellent flexibility for high-temperature transition regions.

A large building with a tan stucco exterior finish

Other Finish Options

Some architects prefer to use other finishes. If you’re working with a specialty system or have any questions about the exterior finish for your structure, speak to a local distributor before installation for help and support.

Check out the endless exterior finish options possible with Nudura ICFs by browsing through the residential project gallery and commercial project gallery.

Finishworks plant with newbrick and metal exterior finishes


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